Hi, My husband and I will be in Athens for 4 nights (3 1/2 days) at the end of May this year. I'm trying to decide if a day trip to Delphi is cramming too much into our visit. My husband and I have also just returned from almost a month in Southern Italy and Sicily where we visited Paestum, Segesta, Selinunte, Agrigento, Syracusa and Taormina's Teatro Greco. If anyone has been to any of the Italian sites and to Delphi, is Delphi very similar and maybe not the best way for us to spend one of our Athen's days? It would be about 6 hours by bus for a few hours there and it's not cheap. Any thoughts and opinions would be really appreciated? Thank you, Velda
I'll start by saying I think Delphi is well worth it. It has incredible ruins but also a setting than can't be easily beat. And the museum is top notch. Having said that, if you've been to other ancient ruins and are feeling a bit over-ruined, it might not be worth the time and expense.
On the other hand, many people only spend a couple of days in Athens itself. One for the ancient sites and one for some museums is about all you "need." And it's not that quaint of a city as so much is modern. So even with one day out, you'd still have 2 1/2 for the city.
Another option might be to take the ferry to Hydra and spend the day on an island. It's an easy daytrip island from Athens. Or will you be visiting other islands?
I second the idea of a day trip by ferry to Hydra, there's a day cruise that stops at Poros, Egina, Hydra. You only get about an hour or so on each but I loved it. Another idea if you're ruined-out (or over-ruined as Douglas says) is to go to Nafplio for the day, it was one of my favorite towns in Greece, great place to just stroll around and hang out, have lunch, etc.. It's about 2-1/2 hours from Athens by bus.
Thanks to you both for the suggestions. You are right, over-ruined is how I'm feeling. I was not able to articulate it but I think you hit the nail on the head. The sites in Southern Italy and Sicily were absolutely spectacular and other than the Parthenon, I think I'm set for a while. If Delphi were closer, I would not give it a second thought, I'd go, but six hours r/t seems too much. The island hoping sounds great. I have considered a day trip to Hydra but was not aware of the multiple island trip. Is it covered in the RS book? If not, any links would be great. I love a boat ride so maybe, if we don't want a third day in Athens, that's the way to go. We are spending time on Santorini but we are flying in and out so the boat ride to an island or islands close to Athens would be enjoyable. Thanks so much for your help. Velda
Here's a couple of links to tour operators that do this cruise but I think you could arrange for it yourself without an organized tour. I did it as part of a tour of Greece so I didn't arrange it but I'm sure you could.
Years and years ago I spent spring break in Greece and Italy. I used one of my days in Athens to visit Delphi. I thought it was wonderful. I don't know whether it was the setting, or the ruins, or the museum or the funny stop at rug town....I really liked it. Maybe it's because I'd read Decision at Delphi by Helen McInnis. :) At any rate, no matter how you spend your time in Athens, you'll have a wonderful time.
Thank you for the tour links. This is such a delightful decision to make! A ruin (Delphi does sound wonderful) or islands or one more day in Athens. What fortune. I will try to be ready for all of the options and then we can make up our minds when we get to Athens. Again, thank you for all of your help. Velda
IF you want a 1-day outing, rather than Delphi (which will exhaust u and not provide the experience you seek) How about these:
(1) NAFPLIO -- Taxi (€11) from Plaka-area hotel to Kissifou station for early KTEL bus (6am 8am 9:30), takes 2.5 hours costs only €12, get LH seat for scenic ride, lovely views of Saronic Bay, corinth canal, then through orange groves. Gorgeous Old town, main square marble-paved, wonderful small museum, castles atop town (take Taxi up to Palamidi, walk DOWN). These fotos by my friend "stanbr" http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/show/ only hint at the beauty. lovely cafes in promenade along seafront with a sunset to die for, Enjoy evening snack before return bus. They go hourly until 20:00/8pm (on sundays 22:00/10pm)
... do NOT take 3-island tour, it's mostly on the boat, herding on & off for crowdy harbor experience. Instead, do ONE isle of the 3;
(2) AEGINA -- Take taxi (€20) or Metro (€1 ticket each) to Piraeus, at waterfront ticket agency get 1st available "regular" ferry (not hydrofoils, which have no decks no views). A conventional ferry lets u sit on deck, watch all the vessels, have a 50-minute "mini - cruise." Aegina Port is not super-cutesy like Hydra, but is genuine & greek (mostly Greeks go to Aegina). An apollo-temple ruin & small museum to left of quay ... but go find a bus stop or taxi, and go inland to The Finest Greek Island Temple extant .. Temple of Aphaia on high hill, 360° view. Stunning!! Then walk down road & find short-cut path to seaside village of Ag. Marina ... if u brought your swimsuit, take a dip, then enjoy lunch at a waterside cafe. Taxi back to port town (or bus, if the schedule obliges), wander the tiny port-city lanes, enjoy a glass of wine and snacks, and take a sunset ferry back to Piraeus. Back in your hotel by 10, relaxed, with a bit of a tan, and memories of sea, sun and serenity.
PS: on my 1st trip I took group bus tour to Delphi, HATED whole experience, crowds, they drag u off to restaurant & rug shop!! On my 10th trip I planned better, took 2 PM KTEL bus there in May, got a €30 balcony room looking down mountain, visited the Museum from 5-7 pm (deserted!!) enjoyed gorgeous mountain views, up before 8 AM, visited virtually-empty ruins site before any bus groups arrived, strolled to cafe, got 1 pm bus back to Athens. Totally different experience, inspiring/relaxing.
In my over-long reply, I forgot to include a link to an Aegina photo album by another Greek-forum friend of mine, which is entitled "A daytrip to Aegina" which shows in beautiful photos exactly what I described (except a stop at the monastery which I skipped) ... but it does show what wonderful flowers Aegina boasts in May, which is when she & her friends visited. The album even shows the fun of the boat trip back, viewing all the vessels going in to Piraeus -- and then the Metro Station, with people validating their tickets as they enter the platform; a complete visitor's guide!!
Oh, Janet! The photos are wonderful and a real calgon moment for me. The Chicago area weather is nasty and the photos are just what I need. Thank you. I have to say that Nafplio is lovely and really may be a possibility if we decide to day trip from Athens. Thank you for the input on the formal Delphi tour. I do think that having an overnight stop in Delphi is the way to go but it's not going to work for this trip. If I love Greece as much as I think I will, we will return and visit some of the places we don't make it to this time. Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. Very much appreciated, Velda